We have these really cool cut outs in our walls between the kitchen and living room. The stairs to the basement are what lie between these two rooms. When we first looked at the house we really loved these cut outs because they opened up the whole living room area. Plus they are really neat. My mother in law was the first one to notice that we would have to do “something” about those cut outs once we had kids. I stood in silence as she said this because it had never crossed my mind when we were looking to buy the house. Clearly we didn’t have children at the time.
Before Claire was born we bought and installed a baby gate on the stairs and just a few days ago I installed plexi glass on the two bottom wall cut outs (see in above picture). I figured the house was baby-proofed…man was I wrong.
My house is a baby death trap.
We had our 9-month doctor visit a few days ago and the doctor asked us about baby proofing the house. I thought my wife and I were doing pretty well. “We’ve had a baby gate blocking the stairs since Claire was in utero doctor. We are doing well.” The doctor smiled and recommended getting down to Claire’s level and checking things out from her perspective to see what could be a hazard. I did.
Conclusion: EVERYTHING is a hazard!
After army crawling on the living room floor I realized our TV entertainment unit is filled with all kinds of heavy blunt objects ready to crack my daughters skull open: X-box, Blue Ray player, Roku, ipod stereo thingie. All of these objects from a 3 foot height could do damage. The lint roller doesn’t seem dangerous, but I had a vision of her somehow impaling herself on it.
Next we have the wall corners.
Maybe its because I haven’t army crawled in a while, or I haven’t stubbed my foot lately, but have you ever realized how sharp wall corners are? Why haven’t we rounded these out yet? I hear talk of rounded cell phone screens, which clearly is necessary. Why haven’t we invented rounded wall corners? Someone please get on this!
Tablecloths are deadly.
Claire in her little walker-thingy runs around in it and is constantly walking over to the dinner table and yanking at the tablecloth. We catch it most of the time, but it’s just a matter of time before she takes a Willow Tree figurine to the forehead. I can see it now as Claire goes to her therapy sessions, “Can you explain your phobia of faceless figurines to me again?”
The dog bowls.
Apparently, our dog’s water bowl is Claire’s personal water playing station. In her walker-thingy she casually goes over and begins to bathe herself. As much as I appreciate her desire for cleanliness the fact that she could potentially fall head first into said water bowl is a little scary. Not to mention she will attempt to go for the remaining bits of dog food on the other bowl to see what that taste like. It’s a drowning and choking hazard all in one.
I haven’t had a chance to army crawl the entire house yet, but I’m sure I will find more hazards. It is amazing to see how much of what we have in our homes could be problematic for the little ones.
I welcome any thoughts on the manner. Please join the conversation. You could be saving a child from a Willow Tree phobia.
Leo, your posts always make me smile. I enjoy your humorous look at fatherhood. 🙂
You could look into this gate: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=16055016&cp=2255956.2273442.2850038.23088636.18816716&parentPage=family
I am only posting this particular one because it shows a picture of a baby playing inside. There are lots of other ones out there to choose from. It is great because you can make a little pen (for lack of a better word) for Claire, but she still has room to move around and play. We used this for the girls for quite a while. That is, until they figured out how to climb out of it. 😉
Thanks! I will look into that. Our basement is pretty open and carpeted so we can have penned down there, but still she is really observant and curious. And she’s tall which only makes things worse.
Not sure if your floor plan allows it, but we gate a doorway to keep our 13 month old in one room rather than trying to keep her out of everywhere else. Especially in that room, everything is anchored to the wall unless it’s ok that she pushes it around or pulls it over on herself. That way we can turn her loose and not have to fritz about all of the things you mentioned because it is impossible to keep the entire house (or even one level of it) tidy and proofed all the time. She always (ALWAYS!) finds the thing we missed within 10 seconds of us turning away.
The four year old understands the basics of boundaries and has for a couple years – we found that it worked to pick a couple of things he really should not get into for safety sake (outlets for example) and raise the roof when he did. For everything else, we’d warn him but then supervise as he figured out that it was a bad idea the hard way. Knock on wood, but so far, no scars.
Thanks that’s great advice. I like the one room idea.